Down in Italy’s heel, gorgeous Lecce doesn’t boast about its outstanding Baroque beauty, but the modest Leccese are rightfully proud of their city, with a cool mayor to boot.
Sunny Saturday morning strolls delight down Via Trinchese, lined with its posh shops, markets and street vendors, reminiscent of an Italian Market Street.
In Piazza Sant’Oronzo you find Roman ruins, pastry shops, cafes galore and sometimes, on warm days, besotted roaming tourists.
From here, sun drenched Via Umberto 1, where stands the stunning Santa Croce, as well as a million ‘polizia’ who politely stand aside for a photo opportunity.
Perhaps then I’ll rest awhile in Café del Duomo and muse upon my chats with Barbara the boss about shopperless shops; escapee pythons; Poker players; perfect trouser creases and a local penchant for brightly coloured leatherwear and tiny dogs.
There’s a lot to wonder about here I can tell you.
A favourite canine character of mine’s a sleepy dog, which lounges around with nay a care in the world, while those omnipresent piccoli pooches cling for dear life to big strapping men.
And, all the while, aromas of warm Salento coffee and tempting treats waft in the air.
If you happen to have a sweet tooth, Lecce won’t disappoint as it specializes in all things pastry.
The smart Leccese won’t be fobbed off with, ‘No I’d rather not’.
You will eat the cake, and enjoy it too, for it’s a little pleasure in itself.